La Jolla crime and public safety news: Burglaries linked to crime ring continue ‘off and on’; police blotter

To report a non-emergency crime, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154.
To report a non-emergency crime, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154. In an emergency, dial 911.

With home burglaries continuing in La Jolla ‘off and on,’ police urge vigilance

As the first anniversary nears of the announcement that a burglary ring was targeting La Jolla homes — and with thieves still operating — San Diego police are reminding residents to stay aware and do what they can to keep their houses safe.

Police announced Jan. 21, 2022, that members of a South American crime ring were burglarizing houses, many in La Jolla’s Muirlands area. At the time, police said the burglars (usually three or four) were in their early 20s to mid-30s, wearing high-end clothing. They often would case a neighborhood to learn patterns and would drive high-end vehicles to blend in.

For the record:

3:40 p.m. Jan. 17, 2023This article was updated to correct the spelling of Lt. Bryan Brecht’s first name.

In some cases, they approached a house on foot from surrounding trails and canyons. In others, a driver would drop them off and wait down the street for their getaway. The thieves often cased in the afternoons and entered a home after dark when the residents were gone.

Lt. Bryan Brecht of the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division — which includes La Jolla — said the situation has continued “off and on” through 2022 and into 2023, with a focus on La Jolla and northern Pacific Beach.

Since the original announcement, Brecht said, “there has not been a noticeable spike in these burglaries, but it has been consistent.” There have been 31 since January 2022, he said.

In the six months before last January’s announcement, 18 burglaries in La Jolla had been linked to the crime ring, police said.

In many cases, the burglars gain entry through the second floor, either by standing on patio furniture or scaling a wall, because often the alarm system is not active on the second floor, police said. Once inside the house, the thieves target the master bedroom, grabbing high-end and easily accessible items such as jewelry.

Police are still authorizing overtime for officers and stationing them in the target areas so they can respond to alarms.

To keep one’s house safe, Brecht suggested installing an alarm system and activating it “whenever you go out, even if it is just 10 minutes when you go to the gas station. Make sure the doors are locked, even the second-story doors, which most people don’t do. Install surveillance cameras and motion sensor lights. Leave the lights on when you are not home — make it look like you’re home.”

He also suggested starting a Neighborhood Watch program, and said “If you see something, say something” by contacting police.

The Northern Division can be reached at (858) 552-1700.

Police blotter

Further details were unavailable from San Diego police.

Dec. 23

Vehicle break-in/theft: 1400 block Caminito Solidago, 11:20 p.m.

Jan. 3

Assault against elder/dependent adult: 8500 block Prestwick Drive, 10:47 a.m.

Fraud: 7700 block Starlight Drive, 10:10 p.m.

Jan. 4

Petty theft: 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 7:18 p.m.

Jan. 6

Exhibiting a deadly weapon other than a firearm: 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 11:31 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft: 5300 block Calumet Avenue, 1:30 p.m.

Felony vehicle theft: 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 2 p.m.

Jan. 8

Felony vehicle theft: 2100 block Camino del Collado, 11 a.m.

Jan. 10

Driving under the influence (alcohol): 1000 block Prospect Street, 6:48 p.m.

Jan. 11

Felony assault against elder/dependent adult: 2600 block Torrey Pines Road, 11:02 a.m.

Jan. 12

Vehicle break-in/theft: 6400 block La Jolla Boulevard, 12:40 p.m.

Vehicle theft: 8500 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 2:07 p.m.

Felony vandalism: 5300 block La Jolla Boulevard, 8:50 p.m.

Jan. 15

Drunk in public: Camino del Sol at Vallecitos, 1:42 p.m.

Tampering with vehicle: 2300 block Paseo Dorado, 3:55 a.m.

— Compiled by Ashley Mackin-Solomon from police and other local reports